SADC leaders Monday ignored the deteriorating human rights situation in Zimbabwe during deliberations at their virtual Sadc heads of state summit.
Instead, they were full of praise for their colleague, President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who according to them, helped promote regional peace during his term as SADC Troika chair.
Ahead of the summit, there were pious hopes the rights situation in Zimbabwe could be slotted on the regional organ’s annual meeting agenda after a seismic global-scale campaign bringing the world’s attention to horrific human rights abuses in the country.
The campaign ran under the #ZimbabweanLivesMatter code.
But the meeting, held virtually because of the coronavirus pandemic, instead focused on other issues like the Mozambican terrorist situation, the Zambia-DRC boarder dispute and the political turmoil in Lesotho.
In fact, a communiqué issued at the end of the meeting showed that the Sadc leaders actually appeared to approve Mnangagwa’s position that the #ZimbabweanLivesMatter campaign was part of sustained attacks on the country allegedly by hostile external and forces fronted by the US.
“Summit urged Member States to take proactive measures to mitigate external interference, the impact of fake news and the abuse of social media, especially in electoral processes,” the communiqué reads in part.
The heads of state also had special praise for Mnangagwa over his role in championing peace and stability in the region in the past year he served as chairperson of the organisation’s organ on Politics, Defence and Security.
“Summit received a report of the Outgoing Chairperson of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation, H.E. President Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa, and commended him for his outstanding leadership during his tenure,” the communiqué further reads.
SADC leaders also hailed Zambia and DRC for agreeing to resolve their border dispute amicably following Mnangagwa’s mediation efforts.
Mozambican president Felipe Nyusi took over the chairmanship of the organisation while Botswana’s Mogkwetsi Masisis inherited chairmanship of the Sadc Organ on Politics, Security and Defence vacated by Mnangagwa.